This is where I revised…

This is where I revised a lot of this book, the living room at the Barnhouse. It's not perfect, I have to admit -- the sofas could use re-springing. If anyone rich happens to be reading this and wants to make a donation to support the arts, I'd like to put in a request for two sofa repairs, please. But that said, it's a lovely place to work. There's so much light and space -- I know some writers like to work in a cozy nook, and there are moments when I want that too, but most of the time, I pick openness. It's easier to think.

I have a lot of thinking to do right now. It's sort of great and sort of awful. There's an immersive quality to this part of the process -- everything I see feels like it ought to be in the book, that it's connected somehow. And I have to keep saying no, keep editing that out. While at the same time, I know some parts are thin, and I'm trying to deepen them, so I'm looking for the connections, for the things worth saying.

There are some really good parts now. I honestly think some of the chapters are pretty great. It's strongest at the beginning; I've improved the middle, but it still needs some focusing I think. The big challenge of this book is not having it sound like a guidebook. We went here, and then here, and then here. Well, that and intercutting in the growing up memoir sections in a way that feels both organic and interesting. I keep asking myself -- is that really relevant? Do I need to put in the bit where Panie Bukala taught us how to make Polish Easter eggs? I think I do. But I'm going to look at it ten times before I'm sure.

My brain is broken, a little bit, I think. I'm going to do one more pass in the morning, try to fill in a few sections that just have notes right now, like "Make more relevant!" I'm hoping to be done by lunchtime, and then I'm going to take a break. Get on the train, ride for two hours, be home by 4, so I can visit with Kevin's relatives. I think the timing is pretty perfect -- I need to get away from this book for a few days. I'll clean and cook and cuddle the kids. And then I'll come back Sunday, and work through to Wednesday. I'm hoping to have a solid draft to show my agent by the end of this residency -- probably not the final draft, but something worth reading.

I'm having trouble falling asleep here. I think it's the stress, the trying to make something really good, maybe great. Thank god there's so many aids to relaxation here -- the space, the prairie, the beach. This morning, I was slamming my way through revisions, freaking out, and then at 1, five of us went to the beach for two hours. And I came back much calmer, able to work.

It's going to be good to sleep at home tomorrow. I miss my bed, and my boy, and my babies.

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